06 Apr 2022, 13:08
Benjamin Wehrmann

Auditors criticise German govt’s energy research funding “blindfolded” and with unclear benefits

Clean Energy Wire

The German Court of Auditors has criticised a lack of overview over energy research expenditures, arguing that about 500 million euros per year are being disbursed “blindfolded.” The economy and climate ministry (BMWK) would be funding energy research projects “without knowing exactly if, when and how the results will contribute to the energy transition’s success,” the auditors say in their review of the 2021 budget. A real benefit for the country could only be expected once research leads to “market-ready and functioning” results, but the BMWK did not ensure that these criteria are assessed and merely estimates that a third of all projects will bear some economically viable solutions, the auditors argued. “A success [for the ministry] means that research expenditures keep rising and the money has been spent in full.” This would lead to the risk that energy research expenditures remain largely ineffective for the energy transition’s success, they said.

A 2021 government report concluded energy research is a strategic key on the path to climate neutrality, as innovations are simultaneously paving the way to climate neutrality and strengthening the economy. In another recent report, the auditors said the German state’s climate action measures lack a targeted approach to achieving its greenhouse gas reduction goals.

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